Hidden secrets of Global Village

Taylor Scott International News

Hidden secrets of Global Village (Sadiq Shaban) / 12 February 2014 You are likely to take home a special piece that has a soul and sensory value, unlike anything. There is so much more to Global Village than meets the eye. As one of the region’s most visited cultural, entertainment and shopping destinations, Global Village tucks away some of the finest artifacts, relics and objets d’art from around the world. Some of the interesting products on display at the pavilions of the UAE and the UK at Global Village. — KT photos by Juidin Bernarrd and M. Sajjad Those with a knack for the exotic and curio will find exquisite handmade goods, authentic wooden statutes and hand-painted ceramics in several of the 30 pavilions dotting the 17-million-square-feet facility. But that is not all. From Jordanian shadow artists whose calligraphy is sure to leave you awe-struck to waterproof papier-mâché masks from Venice, it is the less-explored side of Global Village, which should set you thinking to take another trip. “Throughout Global Village, there are a plethora of handmade artifacts that are unique to each country’s pavilion. Visitors can find lots of authentic tribal shields and masks at the African Pavilion, as well as great mosaic handicrafts and lamps that are available from the Moroccan Pavilion. We want to make sure that when people come to Global Village, they get to experience products that are genuine and hold real cultural value to the country it comes from. Bringing authentic goods to Global Village makes the cultural experience we provide to visitors unique within the UAE and the Middle East,” Ahmed Hussain, Executive Director of Operations, Global Village, told Khaleej Times. Once you sashay into the African Pavilion and walk past psychedelic stalls, you cannot help notice some of the most striking hand-carved artifacts from Kenya, South Africa, Senegal, Madagascar and Gambia. Intricate designs on these products, lending them a touch of the peregrine, are often made on the finest types of wood such as ebony, mahogany, rosewood and soapstone. It is tough to take a pick from the vast variety of styles, often varying within the same context, but the African solid wood-carved tribal mask surely stands out. Worn during special events or situations that take place in the tribal communities, these souvenirs reflect the true soul of Africa. Similarly, you will find large wooden croc-figurines for sale along with uncountable designs that are meant to bring good energy, warding off bad spirits. The Tanzanian stall features stunning knife paintings, a unique form of art in which artists use knives to paint. This form of painting, which is quite a rarity, affords a close relationship between the artist and the painting surface. The displays have brilliant textures reflective of the spontaneous and dramatic movement of this art form. “We have been looking around in the African Pavilion and ended up buying an unusual stash of things like horns, knife paintings and vintage walking sticks — all of which carry the signatures of these innovative cultures. I visited the Mauritania, Angola and Nigeria stalls. Without doubt, the wood-carved products available here are priceless and the best part is that one can have them at very competitive prices,” said Sarmad Misgar, a Pakistani art collector visiting Global Village. In the Afghanistan Pavilion nearby, you can meander through piddly kiosks selling the latest  crop of mountain almonds, pistachios, walnuts, dried white berries, apricots, figs and raisins. Soon you will come across the daintiest Afghan rugs in town. These eco-friendly carpets are made from colours derived from pomegranate, herbs and cinnamon in addition to other natural ingredients. The best quality Afghan wool and silk, one of the salesmen in a stall told Khaleej Times, is used in these oriental rugs, which are adorned with elongated human and animal figures. Usually woven in Shindand and Adraskan regions in Afghanistan’s Herat province, the rugs are available in warm tones and extraordinary patterns. An alcove in the European Pavilion transports you back to the 15th century Tudor England. The combined pavilions of France, the UK and Germany offers the service of History Land Studios, one of London’s best-known photo studios for old-time portraits. The branch in Global Village, the only one outside of the UK, helps you create your own history by dressing you in costumes from the 15th and 16th century England. You can also have your pictures taken in Victorian attire or the gangster Wild West style. “The History Land Studios is an experience of a lifetime. They have a splendid staff that ensure you are comfortable, styled and pampered royally before you get your portrait clicked,” Kenneth Raley, an English tourist visiting the pavilion, marvelled. The Indian Pavilion, owing to its sheer size (largest in Global Village with 300 stalls), has the feel of a traditional Asian bazaar. However, the must-visit cubbyhole in the sprawling enclosure is a corner shop that sells the splashiest collection of Punjabi juttis. Bargain hunters can haggle for a wide range of bright-coloured traditional footwear here. Embroidered with beautiful phulkari work, these shoes are made from genuine leather with multi-hued sequins and flamboyant threads. Curiously, there is no left or right foot distinction, because this party-wear is supposed to take the shape of the foot over a period of time. Available in flat soles, the sharp extended tips of these must-haves are dazzlingly embellished. In its 18th season now, Global Village has emerged not only as a great entertainment venue, one that has stolen the hearts of millions, but an ideal destination which showcases a selection of the world’s most contemporary designers, artists and craftsmen selling their products directly to public. From the enigmatical figurines ensconced in the various African shoppes to the satiny rugs in the Afghanistan Pavilion, Global Village is a track through some of the world’s most avant garde ideas. sadiq@khaleejtimes.com For more news from Khaleej Times, follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/khaleejtimes , and on Twitter at @khaleejtimes Continue reading →

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